Science: Gene Secrets of Mice and Men Revealed

Society | December 6, 2002, Friday // 00:00

They are small and furry and look anything but human, but their genetic blueprint shows there is little difference between mice and men. Almost the entire genetic make up of the mouse has now been plotted - a major scientific breakthrough, says Francis Collins from the National Human Genome Research Institute. He told a press conference: "We can imagine this mouse being able to do much, much more to assist our understanding of the causes and cures of disease. So this is not Mickey Mouse science, this is the mouse that roared." Although you have to go back 75 million years to find a common ancestor, 99 per cent of a mouse's genes are similar to ours - including genes that cause mice to have tails. And 90 per cent of genes associated with disease are identical, making the mouse even more important in the laboratory.

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